We’ve all heard it: “The Red-Hot List,” or “Pick To Click,” or “Who’s Hot and Who’s Not.”
These lists are often part of an MLB pre-game show, where the broadcast crew picks a player to be the star of the game. For those who bet on sports, these types of prop bets are available via most sportsbooks.
Earlier this week, FanDuel offered +9000 on Boston’s Xander Bogaerts getting four or more hits. That means a $100 bet would win you $9,000 if the Red Sox shortstop collected at least four hits in the game.
But how can you target players who are likely to get bunches of hits?
I used Baseball-Reference to identify the current players who get the most hits in bunches. That site offers a subscription service called Stathead (available for each of the four major sports). I used Stathead to tell me which batters over the last three seasons have had the most 3+ hit games.
Most Games With 3 Or More Hits, 2019-2021
- Charlie Blackmon … 31
- Starling Marté … 27
- Tim Anderson … 27
- DJ LeMahieu … 26
- Rafael Devers … 26
- Xander Bogaerts … 26
- Ozzie Albies … 26
- J.D. Martinez … 25
- Ketel Marté … 25
- Nelson Cruz … 25
- Michael Brantley … 25
Not surprisingly, most of these players are among the better hitters in baseball. But not all good hitters get hits in bunches, and not all players with lots of multi-hit games are great hitters. Ozzie Albies for example, is a .277 career batter, hardly a batting title contender. He doesn’t walk much, so he swings away, which when he makes contact, means he has a good chance to find a hole and get a hit.
Similarly, Ketel Marté of the Diamondbacks is an impatient hitter, averaging fewer than 50 walks per season. He hits a lot of line drives, relative to groundballs and fly balls.
In an effort to be useful, here’s another list:
Most Line Drive Hits, 2019-2021
- Whit Merrifield … 192
- Nick Castellanos … 164
- DJ LeMahieu … 160
- Freddie Freeman … 158
- Trevor Story … 155
- Charlie Blackmon … 155
- David Fletcher … 155
- Adam Frazier … 154
- Jorge Polanco … 152
- Mookie Betts … 150
- Rafael Devers … 150
- Xander Bogaerts … 144
Where you find overlap on these two laps, take note. Players who hit the ball hard, on a line, get lots of hits. Players who get hits in bunches typically make good contact and/or are free swingers.
Jorge Polanco gets more than half his hits by line drives (52 percent to be precise), which is among the best rates in baseball. He’s a good bet to get 3+ hits in a game. In fact, Polanco has 19 games of at least three hits since 2019.
Most 3+ Hits Games, 2021 MLB Season
- Yuli Gurriel … 9
- Vlad Guerrero Jr. … 9
- Jesse Winker … 8
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa … 8
- Kolten Wong … 7
- Trea Turner … 7
- Raimel Tapia … 7
- Buster Posey … 7
- Michael Brantley … 7
- Xander Bogaerts … 7
- Randy Arozarena … 7
As a point of comparison, in the last full season (2019) the leader in 3+ hit games was Charlie Blackmon with 21. The top ten in the category ranged from 15 to 21 such games. In 2018, that range was 18-21.
Which tells us that in 2021, we can expect some batter (perhaps Gurriel or Vlad’s kid) to get about 16-20 3-hit games. Offense is down this season, so maybe the leader gets a few less than in a typical season.
Another Special Baseball Moment Of The Week
Zach Plesac, a second-generation pitcher for Cleveland, should know better. His father was a standout college pitcher, and two of his uncles pitched professionally. His uncle Dan Plesac is one of only 16 pitchers to appear in as many as 1,000 games. Zach should know better: yet he recently injured himself horsing around in the clubhouse. Reportedly, Plesac was doing an impression of The Incredible Hulk (ripping his jersey off button-by-button) when he injured the thumb on his pitching hand. As a result, he is currently on the Injured List.
Plesac now belongs on a list of those players who were injured in unconventional ways. Here’s an unofficial list of the most bizarre injuries in baseball history:
- Joel Zumaya: the Detroit relief pitcher hurt his arm while playing the Guitar Hero video game.
- Trevor Bauer: In 2016 the Cleveland pitcher was forced to leave a playoff start early when stitches opened on his pitching hand. How did Bauer injure his valuable appendage? He cut it open a few days earlier while working on his drone.
- Chris Coghlan: the Marlins outfielder tore his meniscus when he was pushing a pie into the face of a teammate after a victory in 2010.
- Yoenis Cespedes: the Mets outfielder hurt his ankle when he was attacked by a wild boar on his ranch in the offseason.
- Steve Sparks: the knuckleball pitcher tried to imitate the feat of tearing a phone book in half with his bare hands. The result was a dislocated shoulder.
- Alan Trammell: the Hall of Fame Detroit infielder hurt his knee (an injury which required surgery) when he fell off platform shoes he was wearing for his Frankenstein Halloween costume.
- Brett Barberie: was putting his contact lens in when he got hot chili pepper powder on his hand and burned his eyes. Barberie missed nearly a week of action.
- Marty Cordova: the infielder missed a game in 2002 after he fell asleep in a tanning bed and burned his skin.